Updated: Feb 17
Even the most successful start-up founders will have hit a roadblock in their early days where they are not achieving the predicted traction, the Go-To-Market strategy is not necessarily working out as planned, or their product adoption isn’t as expected.
This is a serious problem when considering that these founder-led start-ups and SMEs invariably do not have more than six months’ cash reserves on which to survive. They are typically cash-poor and every penny must absolutely count. Often they are in the precarious position of looking to raise extra funding, be it angel, seed or Series A, but to secure this they need to show potential investors they are delivering predictable, repeatable and scalable sales.
They find themselves in the situation where they need to bring in some expertise but do not have the resources to recruit a full-time person, be that a Head of Sales or Sales Director. The option all too often taken by these under-pressure founders is to bring in an external party. These can take various forms but all have potential flaws.
They might include consultants, who invariably charge a lot and once they have developed a plan they walk out the door and leave the company to execute this plan. It is at this stage where things can fall over. Coaches are an alternative, but they often put the onus on the founder to find the solution and further to that also leave them to execute. It’s a similar story with mentors who might not involve themselves with execution whatsoever.
I’m pleased to report that there is an alternative. I’ve over 20 years of sales and revenue experience and can help founders with this execution problem. I can also help them identify where the problems lie, solve them and then deliver on the execution. Over my career I’ve learnt the hard way, got the battle scars and know exactly where the failings lie and can therefore focus on the right areas for success.
This could include assessing the product market fit and value proposition, prospect segmentation, and how to win trophy clients and new business. Then we have the delicate area of hiring and developing a sales team, or introducing sales targets and incentive plans. The reality is start-up founders all the way through to experienced CEO’s can all too often find the ‘dark arts’ of sales and marketing a bit of a minefield.
Often the founder will be leading the sales efforts and will have hit the point where they need to bring in a sales person. Much of the sales strategy will be in their head and be largely reliant on their network. To compound the issue, they also clearly have to concentrate on myriad other things within their young company. This often leads to a scrappily run organisation and completely detracts from the business being able to create predictable and repeatable sales. Invariably, it is this very thing that will be most needed in order for it to achieve its fundraising objectives.
My experience and offering helps start-up founders grow their businesses better, helping them to put plans in place and go out and bring in that investment. My offering is to provide a range of services to support businesses and depending on the need I’ve a tool that can help. This expertise can be brought in on a very flexible basis: it can be on an hourly basis; for a specific project, such as developing a Go-To-Market strategy; or on a fractional basis to bridge the gap between hiring a dedicated team.
If any of this rings true for you and your organisation then please reach out. We can discuss how to address the situation and ensure you grow your revenues, achieve your objectives, and hit those goals.
Guy Chiswick, founder Guy Chiswick Growth